Although it has been 10 years since the outbreak of the so-called “Arab Spring”, it is difficult to estimate the enormous losses endured by these Arab countries that experienced unrest at the time. No doubt, they suffered catastrophic losses that set them back by decades.
The value of such losses is estimated at $1 trillion, which is equivalent to 37 per cent of the Arab world’s total GDP of $2.7 trillion in 2019, according to the Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation. This means all those who called for and incited such events have committed a crime that led to economic devastation and the subsequent killing of about 1 million. The unrest also led to the creation of 10 million refugees.
Monitoring current developments, it unfortunately seems the same forces are actively preparing for another round. This can be noticed by two parallel processes - the first is the intensive and malicious campaign led by a Qatari television station, in clear contrast to successive calls for a solution to the Qatari crisis.
The second approach involves the closer cooperation within the countries forming the “axis of evil” in the region. The attempts to unleash another round of destructive events in the region is evident by the support for the Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, who they hope will continue the approach adopted by former President Barack Obama, whose administration had embraced this destruction.
This time, the malicious forces, which are preparing to create havoc in the region, are targeting Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt and Sudan. In the first round, these countries constituted the center of gravity to safeguard Arab interests, stop the destruction and preserve development gains.
They must be defeated again
This rises an extremely question: to what extent can the malicious forces succeed in achieving their destructive pursuit? In brief, they will not succeed for several reasons. First, the change in the objective and subjective circumstances due to the time gap of 10 years.
During the past decade, a lot of facts and hidden secretes behind many events have surfaced... and the game is over. The Arabs, especially the people of the targeted countries, do not want to end up in refugee camps like Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis and Libyans. Moreover, these countries, besides Tunisia and Lebanon, have turned into failed states.
Diminished financial power
Second, the main financier Qatar no longer enjoys the same financial capacity as before, simply because gas prices have nosedived to their lowest. The financier’s two regional allies have been draining it on a daily basis. Besides, there is growing burden applied by the boycotting countries on the financer.
Moreover, the financer has doubled its purchase of weapons, a move that has led to a sharp decline in its financial capabilities and the mortgage of its assets abroad.
A state of collapse
Third, the two allies are suffering from severe economic crises, a collapse in their currencies, and a significant rise in inflation and unemployment rates, while their people suffer from declining living standards. All these factors have caused widespread public discontent in the two countries and might trigger an overwhelming outrage.
The two allies are not welcomed by the people in the six target countries, a sentiment evident in the historical record provided by their expansionist ambitions.
The fourth reason is that the forces implementing the malicious agenda, chiefly the Muslim Brotherhood, the supporters of Wilayat Al Faqih as well as left-wing forces, have lost their momentum and credibility in the Arab street because of their association with foreign forces seeking to destroy Arab countries.
Finally, there are no guarantees that Joe Biden will win, and even assuming he does, it is not necessary that his policies would be the same as Obama’s, noting that the target countries are now fully aware of the Democratic Party’s approaches.
Network of alliances
Over the past 10 years, the six targetted Arab countries forged multiple alliances with the world’s superpowers, giving them the flexibility that was not available a decade ago. More important is that the four GCC countries enjoy high living standards, while Egypt achieved one of the highest growth rates in the world, and Sudan is now on track and following Egypt’s development path.
Consequently, there is no element guaranteeing success for the planned agenda. The main financier Qatar should preserve and harness the remaining gas funds in developing and diversifying its economy. It also needs to prepare its people for the post-oil era, which is close, instead of wasting money in delusions of greatness.
The two regional powers should tackle their intractable economic crises, while the US will pursue its own interests regardless of which party wins the next elections.
- Mohammed Al Asoomi is a specialist in energy and Gulf economic affairs.